Posted in Achievements, camping, Colombia, Colombian life, entrepeneur, expat life, glamping, Glampingcolombia, hotel, Live your best life, nature, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

One Year Ago

Last year in October, I was putting in place all the things needed to start my Glamping cabanas. I was in the beginning phase of a new thought process about my business. I could never have imagined the success of my creation. It would take off from day one of the openings of Cristal House Glamping. It would be successful with time, energy, advertisement, and word of mouth. Word of mouth was all I needed to bring me enough income to build my next glamping cabana, Aventura Treehouse Glamping. As I have said in my previous blogs, I wanted to share my beautiful place filled with nature. Many of us had businesses slowly recovering from the Covid debacle, and ideas were at the forefront of my mind to begin again. It is much too beautiful here in Colombia at Glamping at Villa Migelita Ecolodge to enjoy alone.

I appreciate everyone visiting my Hotel and Glamping cabanas. However, I must give a shout-out to my Colombian visitors. So many different walks of life: creative people, doctors, engineers, veterinarians, retirees, lovers, LGBTIQ+ entrepreneurs, life coaches, designers, musicians, and more have one thing in common: their love of nature, especially hummingbirds. I hear many personal tales that they share with me. I even ran into one of my past guests while shopping one day, and he told me he was asking his girlfriend to marry him soon. Here are some of my stories:
Recently I had a Colombian-American visiting from the USA, and we became great friends. He invited my son and me to a party at his family’s house the next day. Then there was the guy who visited with his girlfriend who helped me when another guest locked a bathroom door that didn’t have a key. He used a ladder, climbed through a little window, and dropped into the bathroom to unlock the door. I laugh and think it is all in a day’s work.
Or the flute-playing Colombian Yoga Instructor came with his girlfriend from the Netherland Antilles. They decided to take the little boat out at night and almost sank it! The woman was 6’3″ and fell into the lake when entering my tiny canoe. While filling hummingbird feeders the following day, I saw the boat immersed in water. When asked, they told me of their mishap. They fixed the dinghy, bailed the water out, and shared other experiences with me. It turns out the woman is quite an accident-prone person. They had me in stitches with stories. When anyone arrives, I tell them they can use the boat during the day only.
The family that came after their beloved daughter and sister had just passed is especially dear to me. As a mother of a deceased child, I knew their pain. We went on a two-hour hike along the nearby river the next day. They stood under the flow of the small waterfall that was nearby. This family took in every moment, including stopping in small natural pools to breathe the fresh air and live in the moment. I still think of them and hope they are healing from their loss.
The couple with the antique Volkswagon Beetle that I felt I knew my entire life upon greeting them. Their Beetle was the same color as my cousin’s one when I was a young girl. The memories it brought back were so wonderful.
The guy who visited with three of his best friends will always be in my heart. He took a picture of himself with the angel wings painted on my Villa in memory of my daughter Misha. He used that photo as a profile picture for many months on Instagram. I explained that everyone who shares a picture of themselves with the wings also shares her memory with others. I loved seeing that.
I know all young people love tattoos worldwide. The tattoo artist with thousands of followers on Instagram that visited was so much fun. He had a special bond with my dog Cash. He was my first social media influencer, he shared my place in his stories, and I got many followers.
The older couple celebrating a birthday hiked more than any of the young ones! They were up early, walking, and enjoying their time together. They were around my age, and sharing stories with them was excellent. Many Colombians live in the city, and the lack of noise here is nirvana to them. I often get repeat customers.

My most recent visitors are from Germany and came on bikes. They started cycling in Ecuador, crossed the border into Colombia three weeks ago, and have plans to cycle through my adopted country. They didn’t speak Spanish, only English, and German.
I had a couple visiting from Spain that got engaged while staying here. I can’t wait to see photos of their wedding!
I loved the couple who visited from Los Angeles during Superbowl weekend! One was a video editor who worked on the famous Suits with Meghan Markle; her partner was a structural engineer. We spent the Superbowl playing a card game and cheering on the halftime show. They were the same age as my daughter Misha and knew all the songs during the halftime show. Now they are engaged! I love following their Instagram! Congratulations to Rhoda and Sarah; I wish you a lifetime of happiness!
The mother and son guests who visited early at Cristal House Glamping were wonderful. He is a choreographer in Munich and a native Colombian who brought his mother to my nature retreat.
My guests who came from Aruba were so much fun! My son met his girlfriend while she was visiting Glamping at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I met all of her family who lives here in Colombia near me in the Valle del Cauca.
My dear friends Carolyn and Cindy visited when we had strong Earthquake tremors. My other friend Iryna was also visiting and staying at Aventura Treehouse Glamping. We all ran outside, as were my instructions for an Earthquake, and met up with each other. My son checked out all of the property; fortunately, there was no damage. That is a memory for all of us to remember when we have a glass of wine!

All of my guests love my dogs. Cash and Kira are a common bond. Cash would be an excellent therapy dog. He loves to put his massive head in their laps for affection. I often look out in my social area and see guests sitting and chatting, Cash at their feet, attentive to their needs. Kira is the same; she loves the Treehouse because she can climb the bridge and sit as a guard at the top. She crosses the little bridge to the bottom area and sits with the guests who are relaxing in the hammocks. The dogs sound and look intimidating, but everyone is in love with them shortly after meeting them. They give all the love they can to every customer. I even had one couple who asked me what breed they were because he had an adopted dog precisely like Cash. He showed me a photo, and he has a Dogo Argentino also! He had no idea, but his Dogo was as sweet as Cash and had one black eye like a pirate. Some of you wonder if I have had any awful experiences with guests. I have had two times where I was uncomfortable. The first was an Airbnb guest who snuck in a child without permission. He was also a host, so that made it even worse. He never paid for her, and I had to report him to Airbnb. I got paid for the extra charge and a mark against his own business. Another booking through Airbnb was for a European couple that made a reservation two months in advance. They ignored the rules in my Airbnb profile and were rude. They have been my only lousy review, and I responded by stating, please read my rules and suggestions in the book I have on my site. When anyone reads this review, they will go to the little book I have on my site that gives everyone good information about my Glamping place. We are not a city hotel, and people who want more freedom and nearby restaurants should not book my place. In all, I have had wonderful experiences with everyone.

Now that I have established my business, many people write me on my social media sites for business reasons. I have a high ranking on Google, which keeps me too busy. When I worked as a flight attendant, I rarely worked more than three days a week. In the first months of this year, I was busy on the weekends but not during the week; I loved that. It was extra money, but I had my free time, also. Slowly that changed, and now I am lucky to have two nights without people here at my nature retreat. I have many requests for people who send their parents here as gifts or want a voucher to give to loved ones. I have a hotel group starting to help me organize my business with a calendar and bookings. I get offers for capital to improve and grow my Glamping place, but for now, I am happy to stay small and focused on what I have. It is not easy to find employees when you live so high in the mountains as I do. Expanding the business could happen in the future when my son wants to give more of his time.
I am focused on enjoying myself and nature with all the lovely visiting people.

Posted in Achievements, Colombia, Entreprenuer, Glampingcolombia, Live your best life, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Glamping, A New Start

It has been too long since I wrote my previous blog. I wrote about how I wanted to reset my business after the last years of the pandemic. Two years of Covid restrictions wiped out all I had accomplished and worked hard to achieve. During my time away from writing, a tiny house made of glass for glamping was constructed here in Colombia at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. Glamping is an accurate word now, and it is a popular way for many people to spend time away in the country and take a break from the cities they reside in. The idea that I wrote about changing my business’s direction has turned into something bigger than I had imagined, and I am grateful for every second of this new phase in my life. 

In my last blog, I wrote that I planned to build this tiny house. It became a goal that I was determined to keep. I focused on building, and I pushed any doubts out of my mind. I knew that I needed to get back into the business of hosting, to have people here enjoying nature, watching the hummingbirds, and looking out to incredible views. I choose to trust the voice inside me that guided me on this new journey. 

Losing my business during the Covid 19 years gave me a different perspective on everything I had done before when I had a thriving business. I realized that I enjoyed staying in my Villa during the beginning days of quarantine; I was always in a hurry to get back home when I went out to do errands. Before Covid, I planned adventures for my guests, and I always looked for new tourist activities to share. After the country opened up, I knew my Villa was beautiful with magnificent views, but I hadn’t used that as my focal point as a tourism business. I started to see the value in what I had right in front of me when I received guests again at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I took these observations and created a plan.

First: I took a small loan. A significant decision, as I didn’t want any debt, and I hadn’t had any obligation for many years. My decision to expand when I was unsure if I could make money again was to learn a lesson. Use other people’s money if you can. Second: believe in your judgment, even if it is something you wouldn’t have usually considered after two years of lost time and money. Third: accept what you have done, whether the outcome will be good or bad. It’s our thinking that holds us back more than anything else. There’s no reason to imprison yourself. Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box. Sometimes, we need to listen to that inner voice that guides us.

I opened up Cristal House Glamping on January 1st, 2022. Every weekend since has sold out. I am now getting many week-day bookings also. My new Glamping business has brought more bookings to my Ecolodge, and I am meeting many young professionals from Cali, Colombia. Young people are the life-blood of our world. I never imagined that my idea of entering the Glamping business would be successful right away. I thought it would be the same as when I opened my Ecolodge many years ago—steady growth with slow word-of-mouth recommendations. Instagram and social media expansion has changed the way new business evolves. I am so indebted to the younger generation that visits me. They send me videos I never would know how to produce. They are all video filmmakers these days. They have shown me that using the stories on my Instagram and Facebook reach so many more people than I ever thought possible. Their clever use of photo opportunities brings different ways of presenting a view or an activity to further light. This old dog is learning new tricks! I am also making so many new friends. By writing about this in my blog, I hope to reach and help others who want to bring back their business after the past years they lost. Just look at the young people around you. They can guide you to success!

Now I am building another Glamping house here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. That money I had from my loan brought me more money through my bookings. I am not keeping it in the bank but spending it growing my small business. Again, I am following my inner voice. It is still dawning on me that I am doing more in my 60s as an entrepreneur than I have ever done before. Hopefully, nature will always be a widespread love to many, with amazing views and incredible birds that people love to photograph.

After years of being restricted by the pandemic, people want to be outdoors. I have used it to my advantage. I am grateful and humbled. I am learning to be at peace with my decisions after such a long time of subtle criticism by others that I choose to ignore. I am my support system. It is empowering. I have chosen myself, and it has worked out. You can do it too! Just believe in yourself, filter out unwanted noise from others around you, and listen to the most authentic voice you have—your own.  

Posted in Achievements, Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, camping, child death, Colombia, country living, Entreprenuer, happiness, Uncategorized

Live What You Love

I have this family of the Venezuelan Turpials that live on my farm and visit my feeding stations. They sing their beautiful songs when they land at the bird feeding tables that hold bananas. I stop whatever I am doing to watch them. Today the mother Turpial was feeding her baby, who is almost as big as she is. I feel a contentment from the sight of the juvenile Turpial reaching for a bite of banana. After many years of struggle, I have found peace, often thinking how lucky I am. Moments like these keep my heart filled with happiness. It seemed I couldn’t quite grasp happiness until recently. I am living a life that I love.

Many years after my daughter was murdered, I lived life with dread as background noise in my thoughts. An uneasiness that I have finally been able to let go of. Fear can take center stage if you let it. Never let angst crush your dreams. Do what others say you can’t do, and you will never allow anyone or anything to derail your goals. Nor will you tolerate negative behavior or let anyone be around you who is thoughtless, demeaning, or rude. Finally, your past is your past. It is gone now, something that has already happened. Leave it behind where it belongs.

Fear can encompass many things in our lives. There are too many reasons we have doubt living inside of us. Perhaps, it will cost too much money to relocate or start a business. Maybe we fear what others might think. We have concerns about doing what we want because we risk losing special people in our lives. We feel guilt about uprooting ourselves from whatever is causing us stress and being free to decide solely on our own needs. We allow others to manipulate us without reason. We are our masters, and no one else is in control. Once we can truly grasp this, then we can sour into a new and delightful world that allows others to join in if they want to. Remember, fear is just a feeling; it is not a fact.

Villa Migelita Ecolodge is an opportunity that I didn’t fully appreciate, yet now I do. Nature is healing. I have lived in Colombia for many years, never realizing nor appreciating what I have accomplished! Again, because of those dreaded and worrisome thoughts that can plague me. I became an entrepreneur and didn’t understand what I did until recently. I have survived so much; still, I am a business in another country now thriving again. Suddenly, I trust the magic that I live in and feel secure to start something new. This realization came from a slow and steady return to normal after the horrible past year when the world shut down. I didn’t appreciate returning to life as before because I allowed the year of the pandemic to influence my thinking. I invited a friend to visit when I had started to become busy again. She took advantage of me. She used me. She also used my son, and she used my employee. I lost a friend but gained my confidence back along with a determination to succeed more than I already had. I asked her to leave, and I took a much-needed vacation with my son. I enjoyed the holiday and discovered ideas for improving my hotel!

My business has evolved. It is now less of me planning everything for my guests and more of my guests coming to experience the beauty of my nature retreat. Glamping has become a worldwide pastime. I am in the process of beginning this new phase at my Ecolodge. I am going to build a tiny house of glass overlooking the Valle del Cauca. Hopefully, this endeavor will lead to more tiny glamping houses—a new beginning at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I spent many years camping in the summers with my children now my experiences will become part of my plans to improve my business. Never assume that life will continue to be the same way. Life changes every second. We are in control of every moment of our lives. When I started thinking about the tiny house, I would look at pictures on the internet. Slowly, I put a plan in place. I did it all by myself, just like I opened a hotel, and now it will happen.

My joy is that my son living in Colombia since 2019, is learning Spanish and a new culture. He doesn’t have the life of an American here; he has the life of a Colombian. There is no immediate gratification of fast food or a supermarket with everything he might need across the street. We cook at home and use the garden. He knows the difference between cilantro and parsley. He picks lettuce for salads; he refills the bird feeding stations. He enjoys the tame hummingbirds that we hand feed. He is learning the tourist business, the art of being friendly with the guests, and the satisfaction of making friends worldwide. He observes and knows with the eye of a young person. We have many guests from different walks of life, and all have a love of nature in common. When I envision my business in ten years, my son is front and center. He will carry on with what I have started.

My son rescued a Western Emerald hummingbird in August, and it stayed to live at the Villa. Often, it follows me into the living room when the feeders are empty. This tiny hummingbird has become part of the experience of Villa Migelita Ecolodge. He is always the first to drink from a hand feeder, and he delights everyone. I have yet to give him a name. I would love suggestions in the comments below! He is one of the many miracles that have occurred in the years following my daughter’s death. I have found that these phenomenons move me away from uncertainty, gradually and consistently. Grief can be devasting at first, but it can also be a healthy way to move forward and live well. I acknowledge that grief is part of me, a healthy part that reminds me to live each day to the fullest. I live what I love.

Posted in Achievements, Birders, mountains, nature, Perfection and Peace, strength, Stress free environment, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

The Woman Behind my Strength

The Covid Pandemic has changed everything for those of us in the tourism industry. There have been many times in my life filled with crises; I don’t know how I withstood them, except with a strength of spirit I developed over a lifetime. After the tragedy of my daughter’s death, I found myself living in Colombia. I know my mother would have supported me with this life-changing event if she were alive because she is the woman behind my strength. As the world opens up again, I wish her guidance as I contemplate what will happen next on my journey in another country. When I first arrived in Colombia in 2011, it was still considered a dangerous country for only the most ardent adventure travel enthusiasts. Now, this tiny country has overcome its unsavory past and developed into an adventure travel destination for people worldwide. But as Colombia has opened up, the tourists haven’t followed as they did before the coronavirus. Will nature travel be the next big thing? 

As I live my life, my mother is always hovering nearby in my memories. My love of animals and nature is an intrinsic part of my being because she loved both. My brother and I were surrounded by animals as we grew up. Mom also loved the beauty of our world. I went on a class trip to Paris, France, when I was in elementary school. My family was not wealthy, but my mother found the money for me to take a class trip on an airplane to another country. She was instrumental in my applying for and landing my career-defining job as a flight attendant. Her ashes are here with me in Colombia. They rest beside my daughter under the most beautiful lilies that often bloom as butterflies flutter nearby. When I visit their beautiful garden, I like to imagine being embraced by them. 

When the Coronavirus quarantine began last year, I was content. So many times in my life, my mother shared with me the greatness of solitude. I can still picture my mother sitting quietly in a chair, immersed in prayer meditation. Isn’t it ironic how we repeat what we learn from our parents? My times for deep thought are often, usually while practicing Yoga. Now my thoughts are looking for an answer to a gnawing question. What is in the future for all of us struggling to regain our businesses in the tourism industry? It is hard living in this new reality. Changes happen daily and without warning. I felt we were getting ahead of this awful virus, but now I am not so sure. As I look outside at my bird feeding gardens or all the hummingbird feeders, I know there is peace in my world. Perhaps, nature will be the answer as people find traveling to remote places with wide-open spaces are the safest places to visit.

 My Ecolodge is healing for everyone, no matter your problems, because nature can restore anyone to a place of peace. Staying in my mountain retreat during the initial Coronavirus quarantine was never hard to do. After working so many years with the public, time alone is easy. Now that the world is slowly returning to a new normal, I realize that I had a different perspective than others on this life-changing virus. I have never felt the need to seek more than what I have right here in my beautiful mountain retreat. Life was a bit isolated, but again, I didn’t care. I felt grateful that I lived in a place of ever-changing moments. These Andes Mountains I am surrounded by and the nature that lives within them kept me centered during the last year. 

Now I am welcoming guests to visit Villa Migelita Ecolodge once again. They seek the allure of outdoor activities in the purely natural air of the mountains. Nothing is more soothing to the soul than time spent immersed in nature. The latest trend in this year 2021 is Nature, Wellness, and giving back, as referenced in this Forbes Article. Tourists can feel safe from the pandemic in vacation destinations that are outdoor-oriented. My Ecolodge is entirely open air. Wide-open spaces with space to breathe are a luxury that is affordable and calming.

I am meeting many young Millennial’s seeking distance from the hectic city life encountered worldwide. They love to sit outside to look at the views or hand-feed the hummingbirds. They wander in my gardens to observe the Neo-tropical birds, sometimes with a book in hand. Our souls need time in nature. Our bodies release stress when we hear sounds that only the mountains and animals within can deliver. Listening to the harmony surrounding them, they find a balance between their work life and their home life. Peace, don’t we all want to feel it again? I am still unsure when we will have what we had before the virus struck the world with such ferocity. Anyone can tune out the rest of the world for a little while as long as they breathe in the fresh air, free of noise pollution and environmental pollution. 

 Songs of birds harmonizing outside my bedroom window in the morning will always be on the playlist of my mind. These songs hold everything essential to my well-being. I believe they can give others what I have obtained in my peaceful place of harmony with nature.

Posted in Achievements, Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, coronavirus, Covid-19, Entreprenuer, exercise, expat life, freedom, friendship, Live your best life, Uncategorized

Reflections on Growing Older

Reflecting on the years past happen a lot lately. The months spent in the Villa as Covid ravaged the world brought to the forefront a lot of thoughts about my age. I found myself remembering times in my life that shaped me and the future I made for myself. So much whirled around in my head as life seemed to be running like a freight train speeding towards some final destination of which I could only guess. Years pass by quickly as we get older, and not so much when we are young. When my dog Marley started declining this past year, I felt the pressure of time take root in my mind. He passed away in December and took many years with him. He had been a constant companion through a lot of upheavals.

I am the same age that I thought was old when my parents were alive. I could always call them for anything I needed; advice, money, babysitting, to hear them tell me they were proud of me and my independence. How is it that I now am the one giving advice? How is it that I see so many of my daughter’s friends with families, buying homes, advancing in their jobs, doing what I did at the same age? It became clear to me during the year 2020 that I was now accelerating in a different direction, towards old age. My granddaughter grew into a teenager; while my son was learning to speak Spanish and help me with my hotel. My years on Earth are no longer passing without hurry but like a parachute falling from the sky.

How is it possible I have lived in Colombia for ten years? I look at photos of when I first arrived in this lovely country, and I see glimpses of the changing years in my appearance. I am no longer a skinny redhead filled with the need to appear more youthful than I am. I am similar to a bird in flight, searching for what will be my next landing place. I have learned to navigate my business, my life, and my thoughts without so much emotion. I don’t hold grudges; I eliminate anyone less than worthy of my time. I have concluded it is nice to be independent and fully capable of a good life which I direct completely. I land like a bird in different spots depending on the day and my needs. It is part of living life with a degree of flexibility. We all need to be flexible during this unusual time of the Pandemic. We also need to be patient. I still try to accomplish being patient, which is a struggle I acknowledge about myself.

Yielding to life’s changes doesn’t make me weak. I can differentiate between what is necessary and what is not. I find my day is not complete without coffee and photography in the early morning while enjoying my birds at the feeders. If I have plans, I give myself enough time to enjoy this part of my day. I have found that a sudden thunderstorm here in the Andes Mountains of Colombia is exciting. I know I have to expect lightning striking nearby, and sometimes so much rain I have to use a squeegee to remove water off the balconies. Sometimes, I need to push my Dogo Argentino, Cash off of me too! He is a big baby when he hears lightning and thunder. I need to exercise almost every day. I am feeling the pains of my youth and the dancing and exercise I subjected my body to. Yoga helps me, especially for maintaining a calm demeanor throughout the day.

My mind thinks like my twenty-something self. I might have more years, but I am still youthful in my thinking. I have many younger friends, and I appreciate what they bring to my life. They have given me the ability to see what an extraordinary life I have designed for myself. They deliver laughs; while giving me a lot of great ideas! I improve my business as they offer me new suggestions, including event planning at my beautiful Villa. I have to continue to grow into this uncertain future during the time of the Covid-19. Life might have changed throughout the past year, but I have adapted.

Finally, I continue to improve my Spanish language skills. I am living in Colombia, my first language of English is not my first language here. I have read learning a new language can keep the mind fresh. I think in Spanish as much as I use my native English now. I continue to grow as a person as much as I continue to march onward in years. I don’t want to be that older woman who longs for the “old days.” What fun would that be? I want to be part of the future of this evolving world. I believe that means that I must adapt, grow, and enjoy life as it is now in 2021. I will continue to refuse a stereotypical role of what some deem correct for a woman my age. I will accept growing older as part of the elegance I have strived to achieve my entire adult life. As I have always said, “I want to look and be the best I can be, no matter my age.”

Posted in Achievements, Colombia, Covid-19, happiness, hotel, letting go, life lessons, Live your best life, minimalism, Patience, Perfection and Peace, Uncategorized

Gratitude in the Year 2020

This year has been challenging for many of us. I believe that we grow stronger when we can focus on the positive and let go of the negative. I created a personal space for myself during the difficult months of 2020 and focused on all that I appreciated in the life I have. I started writing little notes when I would come upon myself smiling, laughing, or feeling contentment. I was able to recognize I had so much in my life. 

Uncertainty is stressful. I decided to let it go. I am living a life I designed for myself. Once I started writing down my thoughts each day, I was able to determine that my life wasn’t much different during the Pandemic rules than it was before the Covid-19. I have always been a very disciplined person. Lockdown did not make me less so. I still got up in the morning and started my day just like I have always done. It was comforting to know that I had a purpose each day. I have never been much for crowds, so when I would leave my Villa to do my errands, I was always in a hurry to be home again. This didn’t change during the coronavirus restrictions. I felt relief when I didn’t have a lot of pressure to accomplish too much. I had one day a week to get my basic needs. Enjoying six days at Villa Migelita Ecolodge was not a hardship. My beautiful hotel became a place of pleasure I alone could enjoy without the responsibilities that came with the bookings. Sure I missed my guests, but I found comfort with the artistry of nature surrounding me.

Nature fills us with blessings. I became enthralled with the noises and calls that awoke me in the mornings. The Chachalaca birds started waiting for me to put bananas out at the feeding stations. The hummingbirds became my friends. Cleaning their feeders was always part of my daily routine, but it was part of the job when I had my guests here. They are an attraction to many who visit. Alas, now they were just mine to enjoy. I discovered much about how they had accepted me when I alone was enjoying them. They hate when I clean the feeders. They buzz me and are waiting when I refill and hang them again. My parrot Luci revealed so much about herself as she grew into adulthood. I wrote a blog about my decision to give her freedom. She has rewarded me with visits. I watched as the fish in my natural pool grew huge. They love any leftover organics from cooking. I never knew this. They are fat and happy and await the scraps to be thrown to them all day long. My ducks are tame and always following me when I sit by the lake. I had to cut down a large tree because of construction. I used the trunk to make a small Gnome village that feeds the neotropical birds, and children can play in when the guests return. The beauty of nature is resplendent. It gives so much back to us humans.

Animals give us unconditional love. Appreciating them and their company was essential during this unwarranted time in history. I was able to shower my undivided attention on my animals. They gave back their love. It was a love-fest!

Relaxation is essential to our well-being. I realized I could do what I wanted on any given day during the lock-down: “Netflix today, beautiful light for photography, writing a blog, cook a new recipe, clean my curtains, organize my office space, take a nap, have a glass of wine, do Yoga, listen to classical music, appreciate the sunsets, the rainstorms, acknowledging the views surrounding Villa Migelita Ecolodge” my brain was never idle. I felt complete many nights when I drifted off to sleep.

I spent less money. I found out that as a minimalist I had room to learn. I didn’t need as much as I had. I have eliminated some unnecessary costs from my life. I used the money I saved to give back to the community through charity. A friend collected money, farm products not used, and distributed to the poor. 

I savored my peace. I missed my choices from before Covid. However, I relished my alone time. I found out I was just fine being with my own company. 

My hair grew long, and it wasn’t grey! I now have a healthy head of hair that doesn’t require much upkeep. I don’t need a lot of beauty rituals. I did gain some weight, but I have lost most of it. I like the way I look. I acknowledge my looks. There is no need to go to any extreme to keep current on trends in beauty. I am timeless. 

I became close with my son. He had arrived right before Colombia shut down. We were in this together. We grew closer. He learned the bird calls, the names of hummingbirds, to help me clean the hotel, to speak Spanish, to enjoy his own space, to train his puppy Cash, to help me with our aging dog Marley, to enjoy rainy days and sunny days, to look at a full moon, to watch the sunsets with me, and to help me with little things. He is a good son. I lost my daughter , but we were able to share memories of her. There are no words for what we both have discovered.

Health is all we have. I am so grateful to live during this unprecedented time in the country of Colombia. I live in the fresh air, an open home filled with breezes, and no other people surrounding me. My neighbors are near but not too near. We have a beautiful community. We appreciate that we live with a certain amount of freedom from the Pandemic. We still wear masks when we chat over the fence while maintaining social distance. We have our health. I will continue to live a life isolated from crowds until the virus is gone. I can do this. The vaccination should bring the world back to normal in the next year. I have the patience to wait. I will follow the guidelines to keep my health intact. 

I suggest to everyone to take a moment and write a list of gratitude. It will bring the best of your world to you. I know we all have bad days, or weeks, maybe months. Take a moment to inhale all that is good. I promise it will bring a smile to your face. Smiles are as good as money, so is joy.

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year filled with new beginnings!-

Posted in Achievements, Awakening, Be Kind, Colombia, Colombian healthcare, coronavirus, Uncategorized

New World Order: A Time for Change

 

Blue morph butterfly, Kira, girls 022

Years ago, when I was a young flight attendant for Delta Air Lines travel by plane was quite different than what became the future of the airline industry. We had to work in cigarette smoke! I remember the first 11 years of my flying career as a time when I hoped I would get lucky enough to work in the front sections of the tourist class, or in first class where the smoke wasn’t drowning my lungs and nasal passages in toxic fumes. I had always wanted to be a flight attendant, but the smoking part I did not like. Our uniforms smelled like smoke, we always felt dirty because we were serving hundreds of passengers who blew smoke right into our faces as flight attendants. Eventually, the regulations brought forth through a lot of hard work gave us smoke-free cabins. No longer did we have smoking and non-smoking sections. Second-hand smoke was real and did cause damage to anyone who inhaled it. This was proven through science and many studies. The tobacco industry was powerful but we eventually won the right to work in a clean and safe environment. Those constant lung infections I had miraculously disappeared along with the stench of cigarette smoke that would follow me to my hotel room when I would hang up my uniform. 

Back in the late ’70s and early 80’s we didn’t have to go through security as we do to this day. Airport security was lax as flight crews we would show our company ID and pass by. Then many hijackings and other incidents happened, as an example, the historic day of 9/11 then everyone had to go through security. We all had to start taking our shoes off after the thwarted attempt of a would-be hijacker, and now we go through body scan machines. All of these regulations are to protect us from the people who want to harm us and cause death and destruction.

Those of us who are older remember not wearing seatbelts while driving or having car seats for infants, people could drive drunk, smoke anywhere they wanted and the list goes on. Rules were put into place for safety. We now bring our own shopping bags to the grocery store to help preserve our planet. Many have solar energy in their homes and use much less electricity, there are electric cars now. The New World Order is a progression brought forth by technology and science. Imagine a world without antibiotics, or without the wonderful doctors who have found cures for diseases that once were incurable, or those doctors that devote their lives for the vaccines that have eliminated many diseases that once were part of the human race. As an older woman, I have seen a lot in my lifetime, but I have never seen a Pandemic, nor did I think I would.

I like to think of myself as intelligent. I enjoy reading I am a great believer in science and technology. I remember when we did not have cell phones! I would get my messages on an answering machine, I would listen to music on tapes, and I even remember the 8-track tapes. When email first came out on our home computer’s life changed. We stopped using the postal mail to send out invitations in the last decade. MySpace came along, then Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, blogging, you name it we can find it now. All of this is progress. Social media connections have taken dark turns in the past years. I was thinking of leaving Facebook I reconsidered because I have too many friendships that I cherish. However, I have unfollowed many who spread conspiracy theories and lies. I try to make my social media postings friendly, informative, and to bring the beauty of nature to those that might not know about living in another country immersed in natural surroundings. My daily life is one surprise after another which you can see in this video I took yesterday of a resting hummingbird. 

Surprise can be a good thing, it can be a bad thing. I think all of us were surprised by the Coronavirus Pandemic. The cover photo of me as a twenty year old looking surprised is a memory of a lovely time in my life. Young people have so much to navigate. My time was a simpler time. There was no social media, nor competition with online social media. Raise your hand if you think what is happening is like a movie on Netflix that you never thought could happen? I am still processing what has happened to my business. I can’t imagine how you feel like a young family, a twenty-something who wants to explore and travel, a young person looking for love, a person employed in the airline industry, or if you have lost your business in the blink of an eye. What about having to homeschool your children now? I couldn’t do it when I was raising mine. Progress continues even in schooling. Everything changes, even in teaching methods from generation to generation. My business is on “hold” as all is up in the air for every person in the world. We are all so confused as the days of the week become intertwined while we become more despondent. Colombia’s Coronavirus cases continue to go up. We have borders with Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador. The Amazon department Leticia near Brazil is overwhelmed.

So we need to be patient. I have found patience while living in Colombia. I don’t see that happening in the United States. I see terrible behavior by others. Please go back and read my above paragraphs about the progression of history in the world throughout different decades in this condensed blog form. Stop being selfish. Put on a mask and social distance. Young people, I get how you have no life at all right now. You are becoming infected also. As a real party animal from the 80’s I understand your frustration. My lungs have scars from working in the smoke during my first eleven years as a flight attendant. I am at risk if I contract the Coronavirus. You are too. I see the statistics that are showing younger people contracting this disease. Put on the damn masks and social distance. I would have done whatever it took to save other’s lives and my health. Stop spreading lies on social media. Some people believe them. Be a warrior for your children and future generations. Stop political rhetoric that has nothing to do with this virus. You cannot outrun a virus. It will kill you or someone in your family.

 

I am looking for a roommate during these uncertain times. If you are interested please contact me at my email. The cost is so reasonable and you can obtain great health insurance also.

 

Posted in Achievements, Live your best life, minimalism, Order, structure, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Minimalism: The Next Step to Organization of Your Home and Life

My last blog Minimalism 101 gave you some ideas on how to organize your home while we find ourselves sheltered in place during this unprecedented time in history. I want to expand on the next steps to keep your household straightened out. If you are still working on projects don’t feel frustrated. Just keep on trucking along!

Recently I organized my office which is the only place that has often gotten cluttered since I moved to Villa Migelita Ecolodge in Colombia. I often procrastinate about filing paperwork. I have made a rule that I will not let myself go a week without putting my different receipts I collect in the appropriate file. I find when we give ourselves these rules, we follow them if we make them a habit. That is the secret to becoming minimalist. Make it your normal to keep your mind in a decluttered state by keeping your area of living uncluttered. Make it a routine.

In Colombia we are in strict quarantine, there are no exceptions and we have to follow the rules, no exceptions. I have found that I have to become a very patient person. I wait in lines on my day out for essentials, and I do not panic buy anything. I don’t want to have to find space for too many purchases when I return home. I don’t have my maids who always accompanied me before the pandemic and came home and put away the groceries and had places for everything. I now have to do this myself, my son cannot come with me to help. We are given our day to go out by our country ID and only one member of the household may leave. I find these days exhausting because of the time spent waiting and then returning home to put away everything. I am sure you can understand that I buy just what I need, nothing more. In Colombia, there is nothing that is unavailable and I am assured of my day out each week.

I mention routine in my last blog and now in this blog. As each new day starts I know what I have planned just as if I was not made to stay in my home all the time. I believe this is key to keeping up with cleaning and not allowing yourself to use staying in your apartment, farm, big or small home, lots of lands, no land, wherever you are sheltering in place as an excuse to do nothing because you don’t have a reason to do it. Your reason should be because you like to be surrounded by an atmosphere of peace and relaxation. When you know what your plan is for the day and you complete it you can then do whatever it is your want to do without looking around at the chaos that can creep up in a few days.

My mother used to tell me when I got my first apartment and was living on my own to do a few things each day and your home will be clean. It works. I also give myself one day where I don’t do anything. That can be a reward to yourself for having a home that looks nice if you take a day off. Usually, on my reward day, I read and enjoy sitting outside or hanging in my hammock. I have found I love to try new recipes that I can use once I have tourists visiting Villa Migelita Ecolodge again. Every day after I finish the chores I do Yoga. Yoga is calming for the mind and helps relieve the stress we create by worrying. I have one day that is a very heavy cleaning, which my son helps with. It is amazing how quickly we finish and the Villa looks wonderful.

In my last blog, I suggested that you go through your home room by room and write a list of what needs to be done in all areas that bother you. In this blog, I want you to continue with your projects, and for those you have completed I want you to keep them in their new state. Make your agenda for each day and follow it. Again make it a habit. I just like everyone have days that I don’t feel like doing what is on my checklist for the day. However, my mind will nag at me if I don’t do what I have planned. This is because I have created my routine and so can you! Also, it doesn’t have to be confined to the inside of your house, it can be your yard, your garage, planting spring flowers, anything that is an area that you think about but procrastinate because you feel it can be overwhelming. Just say to yourself, what else do I have to do that is more important and start chipping away at the activity.

Believe me when I say I was a bit overwhelmed at keeping this huge Villa clean with just my son who is helping me with the cleaning. We have worked it out and my place is cleaner than ever. Even on the day to do nothing, we find time to sweep the floors and put in a load of laundry. I am sticking with my environmentally friendly ways even as the world is becoming less polluted during the pandemic. My next minimalist blog will discuss ways to be more environmentally friendly so we can keep the Earth clear like it is looking now with less human pollution being sent into the atmosphere. Let me know what you think and sign up and share my blogs!

Posted in Achievements, Colombian healthcare, expat life, freedom, happiness, hotel, life lessons, Live your best life, minimalism, Patience, Perfection and Peace, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Minimalism 101

I wrote a blog many years ago about becoming minimalist. It was one of the most popular blogs I have ever written. During this time of isolation, you can change your habits. Why not organize your house (and your life) and get rid of all the stuff you have taking up space? I can guarantee the feelings of being in charge of your living area will free up so much time for all those things that are on your wish list. Why not change your diet to healthy foods,  try to drink more water, and eliminate sugar? Minimalism is not just about living simply, it is about living healthy, learning to live without depending on social media, constant cable news, going out to just get out. Learn to be happy with yourself and your own company. I have found no real difference in my life since I have been in quarantine because I always would leave my Villa very early when I had errands so I could get home as soon as I could. I want to be in my home, and in the tranquility, it provides me and my spirit.

I have a very large Villa. It is a hotel, but with the novel coronavirus, it is now just my home. I don’t have maids anymore, I am responsible to keep it clean and in good condition in hopes that I will return to my business soon. In Colombia, we are not in the same position as other countries dealing with this Pandemic. Colombia, the country started to restrict activity at an accelerated speed. Thus, we have a much smaller amount of the disease than other countries. Colombia also has the best-rated health care system in Latin America and is rated number 22 in the world as having a preeminent health protection system above the United States and many other wealthier countries. Many people who were here on vacation when the coronavirus struck have extended their tourist Visa to stay longer, and they are trying to obtain a longer Visa to live here. The reason I bring this up is that moving to Colombia is how I became a minimalist. When you leave your country of birth and move to another country all advice given by experts is to get rid of everything except the most special memories and buy anew. I did this with great difficulty, but I have yet to regret my decision or my lifestyle change.

The steps to becoming more organized in your life are to start with getting rid of all the excess baggage hanging around in your mind first. Start with a routine. Routine is the actualization of becoming a minimalistic person. I start my day the same way every morning. I am sure many of us do. However, then we get sidetracked, distracted, or overwhelmed with what seems to be too much to do to get our lives and homes as we want them to be. Routine is key to minimalism. The most important part of your routine is to have a clean, well-maintained home. To have a home that is simple to maintain is to get rid of excess. It is just that simple. I suggest that you go room to room and look at what bothers you in each place. Make a list and start slowly. If you try to tackle too much you will become disillusioned and you will quit. Now is the perfect time to start the process while you are staying at home to be safe from the virus.

There is much to say about being a real minimalist. It progresses through little steps. I will continue my blogs each week with more advice on how to continue to a well-organized home and mind. With a simple home, your mind becomes less cluttered just as your home will. You will sleep better, and find you have more time for things that you do but feel guilty about because you know you should be cleaning up your office, or organizing your kitchen. I have no excess food in my house, even during this time in isolation. I buy what I need because I know what I need. I know how much toilet paper I use in a month, I don’t have canned foods, and I hardly ever eat out. It is less expensive and it is also healthy. We control our lives, our lives don’t control us! 

Let me know what you think of my first blog about becoming minimalist in the comments. Sign up by email so you never miss a blog. In the comments please write what is hard for you to achieve, questions, and if you have any suggestions for others that can help them get to a place of peace that only an organized life can give you.

 
Posted in Achievements, Be Kind, Colombia, expat life, family, Flight attendant life, Happy Chanakuah, Live your best life, love, Materialism, Merry Christmas, minimalism, nature, save our planet, Stop Using Plastic, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

No Holiday Rush at Villa Migelita Ecolodge

It is December 23 and we are not panicked nor running off for last-minute gifts. Here in the countryside of Colombia, we are living life, as usual, preparing for tomorrow to have our Christmas which is celebrated on December 24th. Christmas day is a holiday but for relaxing, not opening gifts. We are deciding on a meal to prepare as I write this blog.

I have often written about my life and how I live as a minimalist in Colombia. We love the decorations, we buy gifts but not in excess, and we enjoy spending time going to visit places to see lights and to enjoy the season simply. That is how we celebrate at Villa Migelita Ecolodge.

I am writing today to say “slow down and don’t overdo gift buying” because that is not what is important. For young children, I believe gifts are fun, but not too many. For children who are growing up, show them the gift of giving to others. Whatever your cause is give them a donation to that and show them material is fun for a couple of presents, but try to steer them into a less selfish state of mind. My intention is to spread what I believe from now on. Even with my granddaughter. I believe in saving our Earth from destruction by humans. If we just contribute a little to saving our planet, we are going to make a difference. Share some good intentions instead of a present that will certainly be discarded in a couple of months.

Finally, share the gift of love. Give a smile to a worker in a store, a flight attendant on your flight who is working the holidays, an older person who might not have a family. Bring your children to volunteer for the homeless, at a nursing home, a hospital. There are so many photos on social media of happy scenes others do not enjoy nor have a life that is filled with so much love. Some people have no one.

I end this simple blog with what means the most to me. What I have created here in Colombia is my gift to myself. Villa Migelita Ecolodge is a place filled with the joy of nature, animals, and beauty. I continue to work to improve every aspect of my Villa. I want nothing more than to wake up in the morning healthy and surrounded by nature and all that I love. I want to celebrate with a heart that is filled with accomplishment. If only one person starts to watch their use of plastic, to become more conscious of what is happening to our planet, to our environment, to try to make a little bit of change in your habits that can make a positive change to the world we leave to our grandchildren, you will give me a wonderful Christmas gift.